That 'Apple', out of the box experience

A project log for Medcheck

IoT pill dispenser with alerts to ensure compliance

bsuttonbsutton 04/16/2015 at 10:000 Comments

So we started a conversation about set-up and installation of MedCheck.

I was focused on the technical details, but Tristan came from quite a different perspective. To use Tristan's words, he was looking for that 'Apple experience' when unpacking the box.

Whilst I hate many things about how Apple conduct their walled garden, you have to give them credit for creating great hardware and that fantastic Apple out of the box experience.

So how do you achieve that 'Apple experience'.

Simplicity and in Tristan's words once more; 'no white is too white', hmmm.

To me the simplicity must be in hardware and in the initial setup, but to be honest I'm not too keen on white :)

So the hardware:

The MedCheck unit will be a single barrel about 20 cm wide by 30 cm high.

The unit will have two ports, power and ethernet, with cables supplied for both. We are hoping that we can put the power pack inside the unit (we have plenty of space at this point) as we find external power packs ugly and messy.

When you un-box the MedCheck it will come with a single page setup guide.

The 'Touch Phone Here' panel is where the magic and simplicity start.

I should note that we have some concerns about the reliance on NFC and a smartphone. While there are high rates of penetration of smartphones (in Australia its over 78%) not everyone has a smartphone and not all phones have NFC and not all NFC phones have NFC enabled. Reality is that we need to start with a target audience so smartphone with NFC enabled is where we are going to start.

We have intentionally not put a screen on the device, as we wanted to ensure that we didn't end up with a Microwave/Video player interface. As such the smartphone screen is going to be the device's screen. What that means is that if the device wants to say something, then it needs to communicate with your smartphone screen. Once the device is setup, communications will mostly be easy. During setup and if the device looses its internet connection, life gets more difficult. This is where the 'Touch Phone Here' (TPH) panel comes into its own, along with the associated flashing red LED. Whenever the device needs attention the LED on the TPH panel will flash. Touching your phone on the TPH panel allows the device to communicate with your phone via NFC and the phone will then take the appropriate action or display a message such as an alert or an error message.

So on powering the device up for the first time, the TPH LED will flash.

The users touches their Phone to the TPH panel and the device instructs the phone to download the MedCheck application (is this even possible?).

Once the MedCheck application is installed the registration wizard kicks into life.

The registration wizard will ask for basic details which will primarily be your email address (to handle forgotten passwords).

The wizard will then contact the MedCheck Web Application, create a user account and register your MedCheck device (during the initial NFC exchange the device will provide a unique ID such as the unit's MAC Address).

The MedCheck Web Application will email the user a login link, that will prompt them to create a password for accessing the MedCheck Web Application.

The MedCheck application will then begin the internet setup by asking the user if they want to use the ethernet cable or WIFI.

Depending on the answer the system will instruct the user to plug in the ethernet cable or enter the WIFI access point name and password.

The MedCheck app will then prompt the user to tap their phone on the device which will send the WIFI access details to the device (if WIFI was selected).

The device will then connect to the internet and register with the MedCheck Web Application. The MedCheck phone will be waiting for the registration and will notify the user once it completes.

If the device is unable to register, it will flash its TPH LED. When the user taps their phone on the device it will provide error information to the MedCheck phone app which will then assist the user in resolving the issue.

At the end of the above process the device is configured and ready to operate.

As a signal to the user that it is ready (apart from the MedCheck phone app informing them of same) the unit will rotate its cartridge to ensure its is properly positioned and then open the devices lid ready for loading.

At this point the user will be encouraged to log into the MedCheck Web Application and start entering a medication schedule. Once the medication schedule is complete they will be able to view and print a Filling Guide along with instructions on how to fill the cartridge.

We expect our main market to be Carers. Most Carers would have the device delivered to their own home and are likely to want to register and initially fill the cartridge away from its final location. As such the device needs to be able to be re-registered on a new network when it is moved to its final location.